Going Beyond News Writing

Feature writing seems to be it’s own creature completely separate from news writing. I think not every news writer can be a feature writer, and vice versa.

Not only does the Feature Writing textbook explain how feature stories must be organized differently than news stories, but Telling True Stories┬átalks about how the entire approach for the two stories is totally different. The Feature Writing textbooks says feature stories need to read more like a story. It’s not just about reporting the facts, but instead going deeper into the subject matter. It should lure the reader in instead of giving all of the important information right off the bat. It is the type of story that a reader should really devote time to, which to me seems more difficult than a news story. A whole news story should be interesting, but it is more important to make the first part of a news story very strong, and not so much the second part, because at that point it is just expanding on details and information. Feature stories need to keep the reader’s attention from beginning to end.

Telling True Stories was all about how to approach a feature story. You can’t just set up an interview with a source, meet at some place, ask some questions, and both go on with your days. Feature writing is a project from beginning to end. You really need to engulf yourself in the story to really understand the subject matter and find something that people didn’t know about. Even if it is something that people experience, like a break up, a feature story could shed some light on it from someone who has experienced a unique break up. This is another way that feature stories seem to be more difficult than news stories. As long as you collect the facts, you have a news story. Features aren’t about facts, but about the portrayal of the subject. It reminds me more of visual art than of a news article. A feature story to me seems like something that engulfs your life. It’s a real skill that not a lot of people have. I hope I can have it one day.